After over 20 years of unstinting service to the European Tour, Jamie Birkmyre is set to step down from his role as Director of Championship Management at the end of this month.
Last week’s BMW PGA Championship was a fitting stage for Jamie, 64, to bow out on, as it was the 16th consecutive year he has fulfilled the role of Championship Director at the Wentworth showpiece, with his commitment, enthusiasm and knowledge of every aspect of the event helping it grow into the world-class golf tournament it is today.
Jamie built relationships with many key stakeholders in the golf, business and entertainment industries over the years, associations which were key to the BMW PGA Championship’s success and the fact it is now a cornerstone of the European Tour’s Rolex Series.
He also embraced the Tour’s desire to be an entertainment company, with golf as its platform, by initiating the music festival element of the BMW PGA Championship, in addition to developing the hugely-anticipated Celebrity Pro-Am on the eve of the event, which last year attracted a crowd of 22,000 paying spectators.
Music was also been a key element in the tournament’s charity initiatives with Jamie’s connections to rock legends such as Mike Rutherford, Kenney Jones, Sir Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood, Roger Taylor and Nick Mason helping raise close to £1 million in two memorable evenings over the past two years.
Speaking to GBN last year about when he was named Championship Director of the PGA Championship for the first time back in 2005, Jamie said: “I was handed the crown jewels. The standards set by BMW are the highest you can possibly achieve. BMW brought in a style that was so consistent with the way the automobile manufacturer produces its fantastic cars. Every detail is first class, there is no compromise. BMW raised the level and, at the same time, every party involved raised their own level.”
The BMW PGA Championship was only one of the many tournaments Jamie oversaw on the European Tour over the years, the most high profile of which was the European Open at The K Club.